Two Final Four appearances.
Two Final Four appearances wiped out of the NCAA record books forever.
ESPN has reported that John Calipari’s Memphis team will have to “vacate” its 38 wins from the 2007-2008 season, including five NCAA tournament wins.
The Tigers reportedly will have penalties imposed for a fraudulent SAT taken by one of its players, and for paying for more than $2,000 worth of travel for Derrick Rose’s brother, Reggie.
If you take a look at Calipari’s collegiate head coaching career, you will find victorious times marked by his successful rebuilding of two downtrodden programs, yet marred by scandals at both winning stops.
Coach Cal seems to have no qualms about leaving his teams in the midst of NCAA investigations, taking off in the face of adversity after both scandals.
In 1996, after his UMass team’s Final Four appearance was erased permanently from the NCAA’s records after Marcus Camby accepted gifts from agents, Calipari bolted for the New Jersey Nets.
Now, involved in his second major scandal, Cal left Memphis in his wake to accept the Kentucky head coaching position, leaving new Memphis coach Josh Pastner to deal with the negative effects.
The Tigers will not lose scholarships or have a postseason ban, but the sanctions will leave a dark cloud hovering above the program, changing some recruits’ feelings towards Memphis and skewing the team’s public perception.
Despite Calipari’s ominous record, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear offered Calipari a vote of confidence.
“I'm not worried about it because they have never said Coach Cal did anything wrong at all,” Beshear said. “I think he's a very upstanding guy. I think that's his reputation and I think that reputation will be with him here. I really don't foresee any problems.”
Calipari, an upstanding guy?
This is the guy who has now been involved in two of the biggest scandals of the past two decades.
He is now the only coach to ever have two Final Four’s erased.
After he gets caught, Coach Cal then runs from the problems, leaving his old schools behind in favor of greener, less NCAA-mandated, pastures.
No matter whether Calipari had a hand in the problems or not, the scandals were going on directly under his nose.
When you are a head coach, it is not only your responsibility to be clean and rule-abiding yourself, but also to ensure that the rest of your program follows the rules.
While many programs, many coaches, operate firmly under the NCAA’s rules, Calipari’s programs seem to always function outside the realm of authority.
First at UMass, now at Memphis, Calipari has been the head coach during scandals big enough to delete entire seasons, great seasons, from official NCAA history.
Apparently, though, Calipari will once again see no fines or sanctions himself.
John Calipari has walked away unscathed from yet another bout with NCAA authority.
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